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Thank You For The Music December 30, 2008

Filed under: Hacks,Metagaming,Specific games,The gaming industry — haounomiko @ 10:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

In the past week, I’ve been playing a ROM of Mother 3/EarthBound 2, with a translation patch by the dedicated people at fobby.net who gave their time to rework this game for the sake of the fandom. As someone who liked EarthBound, but not enough to try to play the sequel with a walkthrough/script or read up on it or anything, I am one of those who would never have experienced the game without their translation. These people have worked hard in their free time without being paid to translate and patch an entire game, just because they cared about it that much, and because of that they’ve been able to bring it to more people who can appreciate it. Such an admirable, dedicated group of fans deserves praise, and I intend to deliver them some, as soon as I dare set foot on the interactive part of their site where spoilers are everywhere.

I have to say I’ve been quite impressed with the translation so far; as I would expect from a group of such dedicated, enthusiastic fans, they’ve done a great job bringing back the feeling of the Mother 2/EarthBound 1 translation. I can’t speak for how close they are to the original, but I trust them to be faithful. Even things like enemy names and English-language puns ring true. These translators deserve a giant helping of applause, and possibly jobs in the industry translating more of our RPGs.

As far as that industry goes, I’m in chapter seven at present, and discovering one major potential reason why Nintendo said they had no plans to bring it over to America: censorship and political concerns. The Magypsies are a group of magic-wielding, millenia-old, flamboyant lipsticked men with five o’clock shadow, and they’re turning out to be a huge part of the plot. They’re sturdily-built limp-wristed men who sit in giant pink heart-shaped glittery chairs. You can’t pretend they aren’t transvestites, and you also can’t pretend they’re really women, no matter what you make the dialogue say. They’re an extremely noticeable, important part of the game, and they are definitely the Good Guys. In Japan, people probably just laugh, but in America’s political climate, I don’t know how Nintendo would bring this game over without a lot of conservative Americans having a fit at the idea that their kids might play a game containing some transvestite characters (and ones who are good people, at that).

Gameplay is a little frustrating because the ROM– and its sound– aren’t perfectly synched with my button-pressing, which makes the rhythm-game aspect of the battles disappointingly chancy. I can actually hear the lag between the sound of my pushing a button and the sound of an enemy getting hit; emulation lag has never been this severe of an issue for me because my timing is often linked to also-lagging cues, but now it’s getting all up in my gameplay by interrupting rhythms that aren’t lagging in my head. Of course, the rhythm isn’t always meant to be smooth, either– the composers have made a great soundtrack full of battle themes that change tempo all the time. Some of these songs are going to take a lot of memorising to begin with. At least I have something to do during the random encounters.

At any rate, I’m enjoying this game (I did mention heaps of appreciation, right?) Due to life circumstances, I might have to put it on hold for a while in January, but part of me wants to just keep on playing.

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2 Responses to “Thank You For The Music”

  1. Ayulsa Says:

    and possibly jobs in the industry translating more of our RPGs.

    Actually, I found out recently that the guy who headed up Mother 3’s translation is a pro translator– he does this kind of thing in his spare time, but it’s also his day job. He worked on Kingdom Hearts II, amongst other things.

    That doesn’t make Mother 3 any less impressive, though. A lot of pro translators have done far worse jobs on commercial games. It takes a true artisan to recognise and replicate the style of the Earthbound series with that degree of detail; Mother 3’s translation is a work that I find exemplary in that it shows a huge deal of respect for the tone, flavour and unique intricacies of the series. Most translators wouldn’t consider a “mere videogame” important enough to merit that degree of accuracy. The translator here recognised the series as art, and went to great pains to validate and preserve that art. I definitely think that’s something to be excited about.

  2. haounomiko Says:

    Ah! I did not know.

    Certainly, the fact that the guy who headed this project is a professional doesn’t make it any less impressive that he did it. He still did it. A good book isn’t any less impressively good because it was written by a published author.

    And the fact that it’s also his day job is actually more impressive to me. It means that he spent his free time doing the same type of job that he had to do at work all day, without being paid. And even if he enjoys his job, people tend to need a break to do something different when they get home; it must take a lot of dedication to want to work on yet more translation stuff. All for the sake of the game, and for the other fans.


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